Former State Senator Shirley Huntley, who pleaded guilty in February to falsifying evidence and attempting to cover up her embezzle efforts, was sentenced in court today to a year and a day in jail. In addition, she will have to pay $87,700 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The crux of this case has always been the defendant Shirley Huntley’s greed and self-interest,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement. “Promising to provide much needed assistance to the parents of New York City public schoolchildren, … Shirley Huntley violated the public trust and betrayed her constituents by stealing public funds for her own benefit.”
Ms. Lynch added, “Today’s sentence should send a clear message: we will bring to justice those who corrupt the system of laws upon which our community relies.”
Several days ago, State Senator James Sanders reacted to the news that his predecessor wore a wire in an attempt to reduce her corruption sentence, by criticizing her for “snitching.” Well, the New York Post didn’t take kindly to that, and this morning, the publication editorialized harshly against Mr. Sanders, claiming he “seems to be endorsing the crime-abetting law of street thugs.”
Mr. Sanders released a follow-up statement this afternoon taking exception to the Post‘s characterization. “Snitching,” Mr. Sanders wrote, was only in the context of entrapment, which he insisted the editorial missed.
What You Should Know
Outspoken State Senator Rubén Díaz, Sr. is out with another one of his “What You Should Know” missives, this one addressing the recent spate of New York legislators being arrested, a list that State Senator John Sampson joined yesterday. And Mr. Díaz, in a roundabout way, very strongly suggests there’s a racial component to federal prosecutors’ targets.
“The only thing we do know that is new in these times in New York State, is the Black and Hispanic politicians are the ones being wired and sent out to root out corruption among Black and Hispanic officials,” he said in a statement dismissing alarmist rhetoric to describe the Empire State’s corruption controversies. “I would hate to think that as Black and Hispanic leaders who are elected to represent our communities, that we would be targeted to weed out corruption only in our backyards, and that we would be held to a higher standard than the non-Black and Hispanic leaders.”
Less Than Ideal Statements
The U.S. Attorney’s office is holding a press conference any moment now to detail the charges against State Senator John Sampson, who was arrested this morning for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme. Specifically, Mr. Sampson is charged with two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.
One particularly interesting moment in the indictment, which can be viewed below, is when FBI agents approached Mr. Sampson at the end of July to ask about the alleged criminal schemes. According to the complaint, “At the conclusion of the interview, agents advised the defendant John Sampson that he had lied to federal agents, which constituted a federal crime. After being asked whether he wished to revise his statement, Sampson stated, ‘Not everything I told you was false.’”
After State Senator John Sampson was arrested for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme this morning, the lawmaker who replaced Mr. Sampson as the head of the Senate’s Democratic conference, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, acted swiftly by stripping him of rank and privilege.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing,” Ms. Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
Another Shoe Drops
State Senator John Sampson, who up until recently led his chamber’s Democratic conference, is set to turn himself into federal authorities today after being ensared in a bribery scandal, according to The New York Times and New York Post.
It’s unclear to what extent Mr. Sampson may have been cooperating with federal prosecutors prior to this point. His involvement in an alleged scheme with then-State Senator Shirley Huntley, who already pleaded guilty to her own charges, was revealed last week when a sentencing letter made public Ms. Huntley’s own cooperation. The Times reports Mr. Sampson be charged with obstruction of justice.
deja vu all over again
Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. just can’t catch a break.
Mr. Boyland, who was previously charged with soliciting bribes to pay his legal bills in an unrelated corruption trial, was indicted again last March for wire fraud charges stemming from alleged abuse of per diem requests. And he was just charged yet again today.
Law & Order
After a series of New York officials were arrested and charged with corruption last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has the solution–or at least the first step. Accordingly, at press conference earlier this afternoon, Mr. Cuomo unveiled a legislative package aimed at curbing the problem.
“Over the past few days, there have been several charges brought against public officials; they span city and state government,” he began. “And they paint a truly ugly picture of our political landscape. I’d like to say that this is an unprecedented situation, that public corruption is a new problem. But it isn’t and, in many ways, that’s what makes it worse.”
Only a couple degrees of separation stand between Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, who was arrested and accused of corruption last week, and the infamous feud that led to the murders of hip-hop artists Tupac Shakur and Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace.
The connection begins with Khalil Abdullah, a Stevenson donor whose name and New Jersey hometown match that of a prominent cocaine trafficker who pleaded guilty in 2011. Additionally, The Smoking Gun reported that Mr. Abdullah shared an address with a celebrity hair stylist whose one-time “High Street” address is indeed the same as the contribution’s. Multiple phone calls to individuals associated with the address and Mr. Abdullah’s past reached numbers that were no longer in service.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is not happy about the barrage of corruption charges hitting various New York lawmakers throughout the week, including State Senator Malcolm Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson. Accordingly, Mr. Cuomo released a statement this afternoon detailing his disgust.
“The allegations of public corruption by City and State officials revealed this week are appalling,” the governor declared.